Last updated: September 13, 2017

Thank You Mom and Dad

Online Business


This past Friday was payday for me, in a weird sense. In the span of two hours, I had my federal tax return deposited into my bank account. I also got a slight gift from my parents.

They paid off my student loan ($1,000—it had been $4,000, but they gave me $3k back in January). Well, they didn’t pay it off so much as they did just deposit it into my account and tell me to invest it how I saw fit—into the business it will go. Hopefully, down the road in a few years, my businesses will be in such a position that I will be able to aid them with their retirement funds if need be.

At least that’s my plan.

The $55 monthly payments will continue to build my credit (it’s 810 despite opening plenty of credit cards to fly for free over the last few years).

It was an awful nice gesture of them. One that didn’t need to be paid, and a generous one at that—because they could frankly probably use the money more than I could. But, for me, it was the underlying gesture of why they did it that was great.


Those of you with siblings will undoubtedly understand this. Both of you always think that the parents are easier on one of you than the other

I think in my case, even my dear sister (who will probably read this article, hi) would probably agree that they were a tad bit easier on her than me. Part of this is probably simply due to today’s modern world, part of it is being a part Asian family (who are always infinitely easier on girls than boys), and part of it was her being the younger child.

Even these days, if this comes up my parents will both give a bit of a wry smile—while saying that they loved us both the same (which I have never had any doubts about!).

But this case with my student loans was a principal of them wanting to “make it right”.

You see, when I was in college, finances were pretty tight. I had to work 30 hours a week and take out my student loans. I put some $25,000 into my education myself—all money from selling home theaters and headphones. I’d always recommend a sales job with a commission to anyone who needs to make money at a young age but doesn’t have the resume to get a higher-end position. Always.

Meanwhile, my sister hasn’t had to take out a single loan, and all of her money she makes at her part-time job goes to…well, I don’t know, actually.


In any case, it was incredibly nice of them to do that for me. Some might say I shouldn’t have taken it—because I don’t need it. However, I am not so proud at this point in the game (still only a year into my journey of being an entrepreneur) to turn down money.

It can weather a bad month like February, or allow me to pour more money into the business during good months (January).

Obviously, Trouble continues to be the big money-maker.

But Ukraine Living has made over $100 in the first month of April (it’s April 7th as of writing this).

Another niche site has also made over $100 (with the help of some paid ads, which I seem to be figuring out).

Long-term, I don’t want to build small sites forever. This Is Trouble can only grow so fast, and I an committed to posting 5-6x a week here for the foreseeable future. I want to continue to grow this brand, because I’m almost reaching that five year mark of having this blog (summer next year). That will also be two years of doing it full time.

That’s a point I can re-evaluate.

Regardless, the small sites are giving me an education regarding…

  • Improving my design skills
  • Understanding SEO on a very, very deep level
  • Understanding how to get sign-ups, increase conversion rates
  • Paid ad campaigns

Plus, I mean…

Ukraine Living Valuation (~50 Hours of Work)

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I’ve recently been going through a bit of a, “What’s next?” phase. My goal is to hit $5k a month in income from my various websites by the end of the year, and that’s looking like it probably will happen (knock on wood).

Which of course, begs the question—what the hell comes after that?

At that number, I’ll have over $3k left over after paying my personal and business expenses. I can continue to scale it—and probably will. After all, it’s working. If something is working, keep going with it until it no longer scales.

But, I’ll probably start to dabble a bit in investments…and who knows what else.

Either way, it’s going to be a fun journey. And hopefully one day, I can write Mom and Dad a check that is far more than what they’ve given to me this year.

Thanks for believing in me.


PS: If you’d like to start your own small site for some passive income, I’ll do it for you.


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